Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cancer cell 'executioner' found

Cancer cell 'executioner' found
Scientists have developed a way of "executing" cancer cells.

Healthy cells have a built-in process which means they commit suicide if something is wrong, a process which fails in cancer cells.

The University of Illinois team created a synthetic molecule which caused cancer cells to self-destruct.

Cancer experts said the study, in Nature Chemical Biology, offered "exciting possibilities" for new ways of treating the disease.

These findings present an exciting new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of some cancers
Dr Michael Olsen, Cancer Research UK

One of the hallmarks of cancer cells is their resistance to the body's cell suicide signals, which allow them to survive and develop into tumours.

All cells contain a protein called procaspase-3, which the body should be able to turn into caspase-3 - an executioner enzyme.

But this transformation does not happen in cancer cells, even though certain types, such as colon cancer, leukaemia, skin and liver cancers paradoxically have very high levels of procaspase-3.

Healthy cells unaffected

The researchers examined more than 20,000 structurally different synthetic compounds to see if any could trigger procaspase-3 to develop into caspase-3.

They found the molecule PAC-1 did trigger the transformation, and cancer cells from mice and from human tumours could be prompted to self-destruct - a process called apoptosis.

The more procaspase-3 a cancer cell had, the less of the molecule was needed.

Healthy cells, such as white blood cells, were found to be significantly less affected by the addition of PAC-1 because they had much lower levels of procaspase-3, so cell-suicide could not be triggered.

When the scientists tested PAC-1 on cancerous and non-cancerous tissue from the same person, the tumour cells were 2,000-fold more sensitive to PAC-1.

Since different levels of procaspase-3 were found in the cell lines studied, the researchers suggest some patients would be more responsive to this therapy than others, so the it might one day be possible to tailor treatments to individual patients.


Professor Paul Hergenrother, who led the research, said: "This is the first in what could be a host of organic compounds with the ability to directly activate executioner enzymes.

"The potential effectiveness of compounds such as PAC-1 could be predicted in advance, and patients could be selected for treatment based on the amount of procaspase-3 found in their tumour cells."

Cancer Research UK expert Dr Michael Olson, who is based at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, said: "These findings present an exciting new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of some cancers.

"It remains to be seen which, if any tumour types consistently express elevated procaspase-3. That will tell us how many patients could potentially benefit from the drug.

"Clinical trials will be needed to confirm whether procaspase-3 causes any adverse effects in humans."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/08/27 23:51:33 GMT


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Getting Through The Day When Your Anxieties Are out of Control

What do you do when your fears and anxieties overwhelms you as soon as you get up in the mornings? Well the first thing you need to do is to seek the services of a professional and/or counselor who can teach you how to manage your fears and give you the help that you need. Until you can meet with someone, what can you do in the meantime to cope with your fears?

The first step is to take a deep breathe and try to find something to do to get your mind off of the problem. A person could take a walk, listen to some music, read the newspaper, watch TV, play on the computer or do an activity that will give them a fresh perspective on things. This will distract you from your current problem. Most importantly, doing something will give you the self confidence that you can still function and that you can get through the rest of the day.

Another thing to remind yourself is that things change and events do not stay the same. For instance, you may feel overwhelmed in the mornings with your anxiety and feel that this is how you will feel the rest of the day. This isn't correct. No one can predict the future with 100 Percent accuracy. Even if the thing that you feared does happen there are circumstances and factors that you can't predict which can be used to your advantage. You never know when the help and answers you are looking for will come to you.

I was told by a counselor that your anxiety and worry decrease over time. Your anxieties may seem intense at the moment, but that won't be like that forever. Your worry will eventually decrease. I asked a professional why does the worry and anxiety decrease over time and she told me, "Because it just does".

In every anxiety related situation you experience, begin to learn what works, what doesn't work, and what you need to improve on in managing your fears and anxieties. For instance, you have a lot of anxiety and you decide to play on the computer to help you feel better. The next time you feel anxious you can remind yourself that you got through it the last time by playing on the computer. This will give you the confidence to manage your anxiety at the present time.

Don't forget to Pray and ask God for help. A person can only do so much. Asking God for help can give us additional resources to help manage our fears and anxieties. It is not always easy, however God is in control and he will help you if you ask him.

As a Layman, I realize it is not easy to deal with all of our fears. When your fears and anxieties have the best of you, seek help from a professional. The key is to be patient, take it slow, and not to give up. In time, you will be able to find those resources that will help you with your problems.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Meals High in Saturated Fat Impair 'Good' Cholesterol's Ability to Protect Against Clogged Arteries

BETHESDA, MD -- August 8, 2006 -- Before you bite into that burger or devour that doughnut, first chew on this: New research shows that just one meal high in saturated fat can affect the body's ability to protect itself against some of the underlying causes of heart disease and stroke.The research, conducted at The Heart Research Institute in Sydney, Australia, appears in the Aug. 15, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.According to the study, even a single meal high in saturated fat can reduce the ability of the body's "good" cholesterol, or high-density lipoproteins (HDL), to protect the inner lining of the arteries from inflammatory agents that promote the formation of artery-clogging plaques. A single high-fat meal also can affect the ability of the arteries to expand in order to carry adequate blood to tissues and organs.On the other hand, according to the research, eating a meal high in polyunsaturated fat, a healthier form of fat, can increase the anti-inflammatory properties of HDL, helping to protect the inner lining of the arteries, called the endothelium, from plaque buildup."The take-home, public-health message is this: It's further evidence to support the need to aggressively reduce the amount of saturated fat consumed in the diet," said researcher Stephen J. Nicholls, MB, BS, PhD, now a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. "This study helps to explain the mechanisms by which saturated fat supports the formation of plaques in the arterial wall, and we know these plaques are the major cause of heart attack and stroke."Saturated fats are found in both animal and plant products, and typically are solid at room temperature. Examples include butter, lard and palm oil. The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend that people limit their intake of saturated fat to no more than 7% of their total daily calories. Polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, come mainly from plants and are liquid at room temperature. Examples include sunflower and corn oil.For the study, Dr. Nicholls and his colleagues recruited 14 healthy volunteers and supplied them with two meals, eaten one month apart. The volunteers, ranging in age from 18 to 40, were examined and had blood drawn before eating (following an overnight fast), three hours after eating and again six hours after eating their supplied meals. Neither the participants nor the researchers knew which meal was eaten during which visit.The meals were identical, except that one was high in saturated fat (coconut oil), while the other was high in polyunsaturated fat (safflower oil). Each meal consisted of a slice of carrot cake and a milkshake. All meals were specially prepared so that each participant consumed 1 gram of fat per kilogram of body weight or 1 gram of fat for every 2.2 pounds. (For a 150-pound person, that's nearly the fat equivalent of eating a double cheeseburger, a large order of french fries and a large milkshake at one meal.)In examining the volunteers, Dr. Nicholls and his colleagues found that after three hours, the saturated fat meal had reduced the ability of the endothelium to expand the arteries in order to increase blood flow. The researchers determined this by using a blood pressure cuff to restrict blood flow and then monitoring the body's response. The polyunsaturated meal also reduced this ability slightly, but the results were not statistically significant.After six hours, researchers found the meal high in saturated fat had diminished the protective qualities of HDL, allowing more inflammatory agents to accumulate in the arteries than had been present before the volunteers ate. The polyunsaturated meal, however, seemed to boost the anti-inflammatory abilities of the body's good cholesterol, with the researchers finding fewer inflammatory agents in the arteries than before the volunteers ate."In putting this all together," Dr. Nicholls said, "we have a difference between the two meals regarding a number of factors that influence the early stages of plaque formation. We have a situation where consumption of a single meal containing a high level of saturated fat is associated with impairment of vascular reactivity and impairment of a normal protective property of HDL. In contrast, consumption of a meal high in polyunsaturated fat results in HDL that is more protective."It is a small study," he concluded, "but I think the findings have broad implication because diet and exercise are the cornerstones of all strategies for preventing heart disease."Robert Vogel, MD, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center, did not participate in the research, but agrees it provides "one more nail in the coffin" against eating diets high in saturated fat."This study helps to flesh out just why we shouldn't eat too much saturated fat," Dr. Vogel said. "Traditionally, we think of unhealthy foods as raising cholesterol or raising blood pressure, but this demonstrates that depending on what you eat, you can actually change the effect of HDL typically thought of as 'good' cholesterol from protective to detrimental. This opens up new insights and avenues for research."SOURCE: American College of Cardiology

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


just that

Quote of the Week

Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.- Margaret Thatcher